Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cottage Life: Screened-in Porch Design

How is it already late July and we still haven't moved into our cottage?! This year's constant rain is to blame for the slowdown in construction. Right now we are looking at mid August so fingers and toes all crossed for no further delays. 

A key reason for picking our cottage model is the huge screened-in porch. I would be surprised if this didn't turn into the most used space. We will have a lounging and a dining area. As usual, I came up with a few design boards. 

Below is the one I think I am going with, sans the hanging seat. We have mature trees with high canopy surrounding our cottage, so I am trying to keep the overall colour theme to a minimum so it doesn't compete with the view. 

I also really like the plaid rug in the design board below. 

This blue rug adds a touch of colour to the overall neutral space.  

This Scandinavian style conversation set from JYSK was the jumping-off point. It's an extension of the Nordic cottage style from inside out. 

These rattan Paris bistro chairs will form a porch dining nook. I am still trying to hunt down a vintage style metal patio table to go with them. Any suggestions? 

Before I go, I will share some of the flowers coming out in July in my jardin de fleurs. 

Lavender Hidcote Blue

LA Dreamin Hydrangeas - epic fail this year for trying to turn them blue. They issued non-stop flowers in vibrant pink. 

DIY Petunia planters from PC Garden Centre. 

ZZ plant in my foyer is nearly 5 foot tall. Took six years to get to this size. I tried staking tall branches but they are still topsy turvy. Any idea how I can keep them growing upright?

In a few weeks we will be replacing our door sets with these gorgeous Emtek Richmond in French Antique Brass. Can't wait! 

Monday, July 17, 2017

4 Improvements To increase Your Home Value

~ This is a featured post. ~

While we’re all generally content with our homes, we’d all like to increase the value of our assets from time to time. Some might consider purchasing a second home, or maybe even investing in stocks and shares, but what about investing into your current abode?

By putting money into your current home, you benefit two ways by adding value to your assets while personally enjoying the benefits of your investment. As such, here we take a look at four ways you can increase the value of your home.

Extra bathroom
There is nothing worse than waiting around for the bathroom. To remedy this most will add an extra restroom downstairs. By doing so, you will increase the value of your home by around 5 per cent – meaning if your home is currently worth $200,000, you’ll boost its value by around $10,000. Costs can vary, from $4,000 to $8,500, so be wary as an overly expensive bathroom could end up costing you more than the benefits received – although they are becoming more and more popular. It is also worth taking into account the tastes of potential buyers and not just opting for the bathroom that you want. Go for something contemporary rather than anything wildly luxurious.

Adding a garage is a fantastic way to add value to your home while also being a useful way to store any expensive assets, such as vehicles or boats. There are many ways you can ensure your garage adds value, such as increasing storage space within, adding an integrated safe, or opting for one of the epoxy garage floors on the market to improve surface durability. While the average garage will set you back around $20,000, it could add $25 - $30,000 to the value of your home in the right neighborhood.

Adding an extension to your home, whether it’s a new kitchen, dining area or bedroom, can add some serious value to your home. With just an initial investment of around $20,000 - $25,000, you can increase the value of your home by around 11 per cent. With house prices rising, this initial investment could pay dividends in years to come, while also providing you with plenty of space in the meantime.

Extra bedroom
Adding an extra bedroom is seen as one of the easiest ways you can add substantial value to your home, relatively risk-free. One of the first things any potential buyer will ask is how many rooms a home has, with “the more, the better” generally being the case. It could cost around $20,000 - $40,000 depending on how much you’re extending by, or where you’re extending from. An extra double bedroom could add an incredible 10 – 20 per cent to the value of your home, or around $40,000 added to the value of a home worth $400,000. If you’re careful, work out your budget carefully and take into account the area you’re in and the demand for larger homes, you could be on to a winner. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cottage Life: Dining Room Design

June was off to a crazy start at work. A month flew by before I realized I was yet to finish the cottage dining room post saved in the draft status. Normally we would be somewhere else globetrotting in early June. Not this year. Busy at work was one reason; then there's the cottage to get ready for; and then there's all the Spring blooms I missed in the previous years. I am so happy that we pushed our travel schedule to later in the summer, because for the past month, I've been enjoying the fruit of my labour, my Spring jardin de fleurs. 
Pink Korean lilac from my backyard. 

Rhododendron didn't disappoint this year. Vibrant pink flowers adorned the tree - it looks like a giant bouquet from distance. 

 Blue Lilac Miss Kim issued super fragrant flowers for a good two weeks. 

Wine & Roses Weigela put on an impressive show with hundreds of small bell-shaped pink flowers. 

Blue Irises came out in mid June but only last for a week. 

Smoke tree in the backyard. Hidcote blue English lavender is about to bloom - they smell sensational! 

And then there's the white flowering Dogwood Kousa. I didn't know what to expect from it this year: a lot of young trees don't bloom for a number of years; and some of them may not even come back because GTA is really a stretch for Dogwood's hardy zone. Fortunately, our Dogwood didn't just come back; it issued hundreds of clean white flowers! 

Now onto our cottage dining room design. This is the design board. 

The jumping off point was these Elbow chairs I scored from HomeSense, for a fraction of their normal going prices. Gotta love the Scandinavian design which perfectly infuses style into comfort. You can find similar ones at Rove Concepts here

As for the dining table, I started the hunt with everything MCM and Danish, but then decided to go a more rustic yet still modern direction. A live-edge table with hairpin legs fits my vision perfectly. Picture below: the Reno solid Acacia wood dining table from Structube - that's a lot of table and style for the price!

I wanted to use a pair of the Ikea Almsta as host & hostess chairs but unfortunately they are not very comfortable and only intended for indoor use. 
I found this chair of similar style to the Ikea Almsta, an all black version of the ever-popular Paris cafe bistro chairs in rattan and aluminum frame. The best part is it's commercial grade and all weather proof, so I could use them in my dining room as well as porch dining area. 
So in love with them! They will be put to good use during family/friend gatherings and long chats around the dining table. I will be back to write about our screened-in porch design. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Cottage Life: Living Room Design

Our cottage living room and dining room are right next to each other, so it kind of makes sense to design them together for a more seamless look. I am already onto multiple iterations of the design boards, but below is the latest one for the living room. I am taking a different design direction from my primary residence. My cottage will be more casual, modern and with a lot of Scandinavian chic influence. I enjoy following the trends, but when it comes to design a space for ourselves, I stay true to whatever pleases my eyes. I am a Narcissist that way. This cottage almost feels like a design do-over for me. Whatever I can't change in my house, either because it would trigger a chain reaction or I am too tired to go down that path again, I get to start afresh at my cottage. 

Because our cottage is still being built and we won't take possession until late July, I can only start to line up some purchases and have them ship to my house for the time being. It's quickly turning my primary residence into a warehouse of new and awesome goodies. The first to arrive were these Norman Cherner style counter stools in walnut from Rove Concepts. I am so so in love with them! They will definitely add warmth to a white kitchen. Btw, did I tell you I am finally getting a white kitchen?! :D

Love shopping with Rove Concepts. Each item was well-packed and shipped fast. 

I also scored this Forma Galaxy lounge chair from HomeSense for a fraction of the price. It will be used as a side chair in the living room. 

On the opposite wall facing the side chair, which is adjacent to the dining room, I will be setting up a storage/entertaining nook using this Ikea Regissor sideboard

Isn't it elegant? It has a ton of storage room as well, but man oh man, was it difficult to put together. Every part had to fit perfectly otherwise you're in for a lot of hammering and swearing. Assembling Ikea furniture definitely put our marriage to the test! :) Allora, it's done and I can almost see how great it would look when paired with a round mirror. 

Now onto the main piece of furniture for the living room. I decided to go with this timeless Florence Knoll style tufted sofa

I managed to get one of my friends who is in the biz to custom make this for me, in a fabric I can see and touch. I always know I wanted a sandstone-coloured textured fabric to complement the grey rug, not too grey, but can't be beige/cream either. I found this perfect one called Nubia 061. The fabric is stain and water-resistant so it can be spot-cleaned, just what I need for a cottage! 

This is what the fabric looks like when made into furniture, pretty cool to be able to visualize how it would look on my sofa. 

It's Lilac season and the Korean lilac bush in my backyard is blooming like no tomorrow, all thanks to the abundant rain we've been having this month. 

Life is a collection of small but sure happiness. I am slowly learning to savour them. 

Rhododendron is next up! 

I will be back to write about the cottage dining room. 

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